Diabetic retinopathy is a progressive eye disease that causes vision disturbances and in some cases, partial or total vision loss. There are two primary types of retinopathy – non-proliferative and proliferative. Non-proliferative diabetic retinopathy is diagnosed in mild to moderate stages of the disease and is marked by swollen and blocked blood vessels in the eyes. Over time, new and abnormal blood vessels may begin to develop in the retina, leaking fluids into the eye and impairing vision.
Did you know…
that diabetic retinopathy is the leading cause of blindness among American adults? The disease is extremely common among people with diabetes. The Centers for Disease Control report that 1 in 3 American adults over age 40 with diabetes currently have the condition. That is more than 4 million people living with diabetic retinopathy in the U.S. alone.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I know if I have diabetic retinopathy?
The earliest stages of diabetic retinopathy usually produce no symptoms. However, it is during this stage that the disease is most treatable. That is why anyone who is diabetic or pre-diabetic should undergo dilated eye exams at least once per year. Left untreated, diabetic retinopathy can progress to advanced stages. This may result in more noticeable symptoms, such as:
- Blurry vision
- Eye ‘floaters’
- Nighttime vision disturbances
- Central vision loss
If you experience any new and unusual symptoms, contact your Nashville optometrist to schedule a consultation.
In what ways can an optometrist diagnose diabetic retinopathy in Nashville?
Your Nashville optometrist can identify diabetic retinopathy long before it causes symptoms. Special tests during your eye exam will measure pressure in your eye and look for signs of swelling in the retina. Your optometrist can also view nerve damage caused by retinopathy, as well as the growth of new blood vessels.
What types of Nashville treatments for diabetic retinopathy are available?
Treatments for diabetic retinopathy vary depending on the stage of the disease and the unique needs of each individual patient. However, there are laser treatments available to help ablate and shrink abnormal blood vessels, preventing them from linking.